Florence couple carrying baby girl to full term despite fatal diagnosis

Florence couple carrying baby girl to full term despite fatal diagnosis
'Emmy Strong' t-shirts (Source: Audrey Biesk)
'Emmy Strong' t-shirts (Source: Audrey Biesk)

FLORENCE COUNTY, SC (WMBF) - Michael and Brandi Rogers have made the tough decision to carry their unborn baby girl, who has a terminal condition called anencephaly, to full term.

The fatal diagnosis means baby Emersyn will be born without parts of her brain and skull.

Both parents said they do not want Emersyn to be identified as an anencephaly baby, but instead as their third and very loved child. Originally, doctors gave a false diagnosis at 11 weeks that gave Emerysn a chance of surviving.

Later, the family found out it was anencephaly. Mom Brandi Rogers will deliver Emersyn at 37 weeks so she can hold her in her arms, but said neither the family nor the doctors know if the baby will survive labor or not.

"I know when she is placed on me, I am not going to notice what is not right with her," Rogers said.

The family talked about inducing early, but that is considered a late-term abortion in South Carolina. The couple would then need to travel out of state, so the decision was made to carry Emersyn to full term.

"I get a lot more scared as it gets closer. I just know that there will be a point that I won't feel her and just the thought of not feeling her means she's not here," Rogers said. "And that bothers me, but actually carrying her to term and giving her life doesn't bother me, just a mother's life when I know I can't help her. At some point it's going to have to stop."

A mother's love shines through her when people ask questions since she is now starting to show. Talking about Emersyn is seen as a chance to share their story.

Rogers said she talks about her baby girl the same as Haigan and Lawson, her two other children who are 3 and under.

"Probably neither one of them will remember it, but I will," Rogers said. "I will have pictures and I will always get to show them that, and I find a lot of peace in knowing I will be able to give her her first bath and have her first pictures done."

The family believes child loss is OK to talk about.

"I don't want people to focus on her being an organ donor should it work out," Rogers said. "I want her to be known as Emersyn and us speaking out about anencephaly, not about organ donation."

As for right now, Rogers knows Emersyn is safe in her womb and can feel her kick and move. As the September birth gets closer, she said it feels more and more real.

"You know you're supposed to be her mother and supposed to protect her and there is nothing I can do to help her at that point and that's hard, but I do love her and want to give her the chance to live, and if she doesn't that's fine too," Rogers said.

"You don't want to ever go through that with your child and it's something I never thought I would have to go through, but we realize there is nothing we can do to help the situation or that we did to cause the situation," Michael Rogers said.

With anencephaly awareness, the Rogers hope their story will be seen as an inspiration and a chance to help educate.

"The fact that she could contribute to that research is enough for me even if she doesn't donate to transplant. Another thing with going full term is we can have a grave to take them to whenever they want to know about her and can talk to her there, I find closure in knowing that," said Rogers.

Time heals, but the Rogers said they never want Emersyn to be forgotten.

The Rogers family has saved up funeral costs for Emersyn, but any donations that come in through their gofundme page will be donated to anencephaly organizations, along with Emmy's 5krun/walk in August.

Copyright 2017 WMBF News. All rights reserved.